Washington Post political ads database

Not too long ago the resource environment was very unfriendly to anyone trying to study political ad campaigns. Not anymore. Still another addition to the ad campaign research landscape is brought to us by The Washington Post which hosts a free database of “political advertisements funded by campaigns, parties, committees, and independent advocacy groups.” So far the coverage is restricted to the last three years with most of the ads tied to specific presidential, House, Senate, or gubernatorial races throughout the country.

It’s a clean and usefully indexed database. Ads are accessible by year, type of race, candidate/organization, state, party, issue (corruption, crime, war, environment, gay marriage, etc.), character (“real people,” blue collar workers, children, elderly, teachers, shoppers, students, Santa Claus, etc.), cue ( Capitol building, flag, September 11, icebergs, ocean, prison, dead bodies, cowboy hats, etc. ), media (radio, TV, web), music (patriot, somber, upbeat, ominous), narrator, and type (attack, biographical, emotional, humorous, endorsement, etc.).

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